Browsing articles in "Shadow Ministerial Media Release"
Jul 18, 2018

Speech to the Inland Rail Conference – Getting Inland Rail Right – Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

PARKES, NSW
WEDNESDAY, 18 JULY, 2018

Let me start by congratulating the Australasian Railway Association and the Australian Logistics Council for staging this important conference.

With day-to-day politics dominating the media, it’s always a good idea to take time out for serious consideration of policy issues that bear upon the national interest.

When we are talking about construction of a 1700km freight rail line servicing some of our nation’s most-important agricultural precincts, the national interest looms large.

Inland Rail will become one of the nation’s most important pieces of infrastructure.

It will still be in use a century from now.

That means we need to get it right.

That’s why as the Federal Minister I commissioned the comprehensive study into the project. The Labor Government subsequently invested $600 million in upgrading the existing tracks that will form part of the route and allocated a further $300 million in the 2013 Budget to progress the project.

Today I reconfirm Labor’s support for this classic nation building project.

It’s the sort of infrastructure that will drive development by improving access to reliable freight transport, particularly for primary producers.

Quicker passage of goods to port reduces costs, which will make our producers more competitive and give them greater resources to invest in increased production.

The productivity gains will fuel job creation and economic growth in communities that are crying out for economic stimulus.

Nowhere is this more the case than right here in Parkes, which is set to become Australia’s most important inland logistics hub, given that it is where the East-West route will meet Inland Rail.

However, as is the case with all major infrastructure projects, it’s important to get the details right.

Governments like to make big announcements.

But what is more important is ensuring the projects that they announce are viable, properly financed and subject to achievable deadlines.

That’s where Labor has some issues with Inland Rail.

For a start, the project is behind schedule.

According to a Coalition media statement from 28 August, 2013, construction of Inland Rail was meant to commence within three years: by the middle of 2016.

Two years on from the expiry of that deadline, the final route alignment has still not been finalised and environmental approvals have not been sought, let alone given.

We also have no details of the public-private partnership that will deliver the most challenging part of the project – the section through the Great Dividing Range in South East Queensland.

There is also the fact that the project does not go to the Port of Brisbane.

It stops 38km away, at Acacia Ridge.

It was only in this year’s Budget that the Commonwealth turned its attention to this problem by jointly funding a $1.5 million study with the Queensland Government.

That was a good decision, if somewhat late in the process.

Of course, it also doesn’t go to the Port of Melbourne.

Just because it’s called Inland Rail, that shouldn’t be taken so literally that it doesn’t go to a port.

Other issues about the route, including the section between Narromine and Narrabri, must also be resolved to ensure it maximises the benefit of the project, while minimising any negative impact on the communities which will be affected.
FINANCING

Most worryingly, doubt remains about the Government’s plan to finance Inland Rail via an $8.4 billion off-budget equity investment into the Australian Rail Track Corporation.

The problem here is that for a project to be financed off-budget, it must be able to make a return to the Budget.

That is, a commercial rate of return on capital investment as well as on operating and maintenance expenses.

But, as was clear from the 2015 implementation study into the project, conducted by former Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson, Inland Rail’s revenues will not cover its capital cost over 50 years of operation.

It is clear from Senate Estimates that the Government is considering ARTC’s overall revenue, including the profitable Hunter Valley Coal Network, rather than this project itself, to avoid any investment contributing to the Budget bottom line.

Of course, it is also the case that the long-term lease arrangements between the ARTC and both the Victorian and NSW Governments have not been finalised, which is essential for Inland Rail to have the certainty the project needs.

I’m not the only one to have made these observations about uncertainty over financing.

Yet the Government has been reluctant to even discuss the issue.

That uncertainty must be resolved.

We need greater transparency over planning and an honest conversation about the project and how much grant funding the Government expects will be required to make it a reality.

We all know that Inland Rail isn’t going to build itself.

It’s important that all of us – elected representatives, industry and, most importantly, the community – are fully informed upfront about the real financing profile.
RAIL RENAISSANCE

Of course there is nothing new about rail being seen as a driver of economic development.

This has been a critical element in industrialisation and modern history.

From bridging the Australian continent, opening up the American West and, more recently, driving economic development of our Asian neighbours, rail has been history’s greatest facilitator of progress.

In the 21st century, even though it has more competitors in the transport sphere, rail keeps rolling on.

Indeed, it is having something of a renaissance.

Across the globe, urban rail and high speed rail are being rolled out as nations and cities modernise their transport systems to bring them up to task for the 21st century.

Here in Australia, states are investing in projects like the Melbourne Metro, Brisbane’s Cross River Rail and Perth’s METRONET and planning is under way for Western Sydney Rail and the Melbourne Airport Rail Project.

When you add Inland Rail and High Speed Rail to the equation, it is clear that this nation is going to invest many billions of dollars on rail in coming decades.

To serve the national interest, we must maximise the involvement of Australian industry in these projects.

In coming years we will lay thousands of kilometres of track and will require vast amounts of rolling stock.

That’s a huge challenge.

But if we are smart, we will turn the challenge into an opportunity by planning now to give Australian companies a piece of the action.

We should be using Australian standard steel.

And rather than buying the new rolling stock offshore, we should build it here.

If we approach this challenge properly, we can use the coming revolution in rail to re-energise Australian manufacturing.

We can train thousands of young Australians so they have skills fit for the 21st century, not just in rail, but across a range of advanced manufacturing applications.

That’s why a Labor Government will implement a National Rail Plan.

Our plan includes establishment of an Office of National Rail Industry Co-ordination to undertake a national audit of the adequacy, capacity and condition of passenger trains nationally.

The Office will work with states to develop train priority plans, including a proposed delivery schedule for the next 10 years to iron out peaks and troughs in procurement.

Labor will also reinstate the Rail Supplier Advocate, abolished in 2013, to help small and medium-sized businesses get their foot in the door for government contracts.
LABOR’S RECORD

Labor’s National Rail Plan builds our long-standing support for rail and its place in driving productivity and economic growth.

The former Labor Government rebuilt 4000km of the interstate freight rail network.

We began the process of separating freight and passenger lines in Sydney and Adelaide and put in place the arrangements for development of the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal.

On public transport, we invested more in urban rail than all other Commonwealth governments combined since Federation.

The biggest public transport investment from any Federal Government was our contribution to Victoria’s Regional Rail Link which untangled suburban and regional passenger rail lines in Melbourne, to the benefit of Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong.

CONCLUSION

Once again, thanks for inviting me to this conference. I have come to Parkes today to recommit Labor’s support for Inland Rail. I do so with because I believe in its potential to serve the public interest for decades to come. I hope that future generations will look back at decision makers of our time and thank us for our vision.

However, for their sake, it’s this simple: We must get this project right.

WEDNESDAY, 18 JULY, 2018

Jul 18, 2018

Speech to the M1 Forum – Confronting the Challenge of Growth in South East Queensland – Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

SPEECH TO M1 FORUM
LOGANHOLME
TUESDAY, 17 JULY, 2018

INTRODUCTION

I’d like to acknowledge Labor’s terrific candidate for Forde, Des Hardman, for organising today’s forum and for his tireless advocacy for action on infrastructure for this region.

Good government is about planning and building for the future.

Indeed, central to keeping South East Queensland moving must be a commitment to delivering modern, well planned infrastructure.

In that respect there is no more important piece of road infrastructure than the
Pacific Motorway.

The Pacific Motorway – the M1 – connects Queensland’s capital, Brisbane, to the State’s second-biggest and one of its fastest-growing cities, the Gold Coast, and onward to northern NSW.

Each day 155,000 vehicles use the M1.

That makes it the busiest road in Queensland and one of the busiest in the country.

The M1 is also a vital section of Australia’s east coast freight and logistics network.

It is used by heavy vehicles needing to access the Acacia Ridge Intermodal, Port of Brisbane, Brisbane’s CBD and Brisbane Airport.

The road is set to become an even more important freight route, with heavy vehicle traffic expected to increase annually by between 3 and 4 per cent, compared to growth of between 1 and 2 per cent in overall traffic volumes.

And it is a key gateway to the Gold Coast for international and domestic tourists.

FEDERAL LABOR’S RECORD

Because of all of these reasons, the former Federal Labor Government had a clear vision: an M1 which supported, rather than hindered, Queensland’s economic development.

We backed that vision with real money for real projects that have made a real difference.

All up, we invested $455 million on the road, matched dollar-for-dollar by the then Bligh Labor Government.

As part of this unprecedented capital works program, we:

  • Widened from four to six lanes the section between Worongary and Mudgeeraba, as well as the section between Nerang South and Worongary;
  • Rebuilt the Coomera, Nerang South, Mudgeeraba, Robina and Varsity Lake interchanges; and
  • Upgraded the Springwood South to Daisy Hill section.

Collectively, these upgrades to the M1 eliminated choke-points, eased congestion, improved safety, and ultimately, helped to keep people and freight moving.

This investment was part of the $6.3 billion the former Federal Labor Government committed to major infrastructure projects across the South East corner.

That was more than what the Howard Government spent across the entire state of Queensland over a similar period of time.

Labor’s other transformative projects included:

  • A $2.5 billion investment in the Ipswich Motorway between Dinmore and Darra, an upgrade that remains South East Queensland’s largest-ever Federally-funded road project;
  • A $195 million investment in the Bruce Highway between Caboolture and Caloundra;
  • Construction of the Redcliffe Peninsula Link, a rail line first mooted more than a century ago in 1895;
  • Gold Coast Rapid Transit: A 13km light rail network connecting Griffith University to Broadbeach. Delivery of the $365 million investment was the most significant Commonwealth investment ever in light rail;
  • Construction of a new interchange at the intersection between Mains and Kessels Roads in Macgregor; and
  • The $1.5 billion Legacy Way: A 4.6 km tunnel connecting the Western Freeway at Toowong with the Inner City Bypass at Kelvin Grove.

All up, we more than doubled annual Federal investment from $143 to $314 per Queenslander.

COALITION RECORD

Despite all their talk, it took the Liberals in Canberra more than an entire
term in government to commit anything meaningful to the M1.

We’ve had five wasted years, during which the pressure on this vital section of the National Land Transport Network has being growing and congestion has been worsening.

Despite all the hype that surrounded this year’s Federal Budget, the Budget Papers’ fine print revealed that only 10 per cent of the funding allocated to new Queensland projects will be available before 2022-23.

Simply put, Queenslanders hoping for the extra rail and road funding promised in the days leading up to the 2018 Budget will have to re-elect the Coalition not once, but twice more before the bulk of the money flows.

This is simply absurd. It’s investment on the Never-Never.

The situation with respect to the proposed M1 upgrades is not very positive either.

Of the $1 billion committed to widening the Motorway between Varsity Lakes and Tugun and between Eight Miles Plains and Daisy Hills, just 1 per cent will be available in the current financial year to advance those projects.

Eighty-five percent of the funding won’t be available until after the four-year Forward Estimates.

Again, if you are a motorist or a truck driver, you will have to wait for years before the Turnbull Government delivers the faster, safer, less frustrating driving conditions you require and deserve now.

A LABOR GOVERNMENT

Over the next few decades the population of South East Queensland is projected to increase by 2.2 million people.

Indeed, by the early 2030s, 5.5 million people – or almost one in six Australians – will be calling this part of our country home.

Managing that growth will not be easy.

But the business-as-usual approach of the Government is not an option.

Infrastructure Australia is forecasting that without action now, the cost of this traffic congestion within the region will increase  to $9.2 billion a year by 2031.

A significant proportion of that blowout will be the result of the increasing capacity constraints along key sections of the M1.

While it is of course the responsibility of the State Government to take the lead when it comes to identifying Queensland’s long-term infrastructure needs, it’s also the case that modernising the State’s infrastructure – including the M1 – is ultimately a task too big for it alone to achieve.

It will require a partnership between the State and the private sector.

And it will require a national government that’s prepared to play its part in the national interest.

That’s precisely what Federal Labor is offering.

We will work with the Queensland Government to fast track, as much as possible, the proposed M1 upgrades – Varsity Lakes to Tugun; Eight Miles Plains to Daisy Hills – and begin the necessary planning work on future upgrades.

As well as helping to tackle congestion, there is also an important safety dimension to these upgrades.

Each year there are 12,000 road accidents reported on the Motorway.

But as well as upgrading the M1, Federal Labor also understands that if we are to build productive, sustainable and liveable cities where communities can grow and prosper, governments need to invest in both their road and rail infrastructure.

That’s why the next Federal Labor Government will back Cross River Rail.

We will invest $2.24 billion of Federal funding to deliver the project in partnership with the Queensland Government.

This transformative project will unlock South East Queensland’s urban rail network and deliver more trains, more often for commuters, including to and from the Gold Coast.

This in turn will take pressure of the region’s major arterial roads, including the M1.

CONCLUSION

Let me finish by paying tribute to the Deputy Premier.

In her first Budget as Treasurer Jackie proved once again that when it comes to infrastructure, you can always rely on Labor to deliver.

We are the party of nation building. The others talk, we build.

Only Labor – both Federal and State – has a plan to keep South East Queensland moving.

It’s a plan that recognises that the difficult task of renewing and expanding this region’s transport infrastructure requires a genuine partnership between governments.

The long-term national interest demands nothing less.

ENDS

TUESDAY, 17 JULY, 2018

 

Jul 18, 2018

Transcript of Television Interview – Mango Hill, Queensland – Tuesday, 17 July, 2018

E&OE TRANSCRIPT
DOORSTOP
MANGO HILL, QUEENSLAND
TUESDAY, 17 JULY 2018

Subjects: Mango Hill park and ride, PFAS

CORINNE MULHOLLAND: Welcome here to the Mango Hill train station. We’re standing in one of the fastest growing communities in Australia. We know that the Australian Bureau of Statistics told us that North Lakes and Mango Hill are growing communities full of local families, commuters who want to get around, get to work or simply get their kids to school. I’ve been working really closely with our fantastic state members, Steven Miles and Chris Whiting. I’ve been working really closely with them to see this project come to fruition and I’m so glad to welcome Anthony Albanese here today to make a really special announcement.

I’ve been out over the weekend and the last couple of weeks talking to people who live here in Mango Hill and North Lakes and they’ve told me that they would love to utilise this train station, even more than they do, but they simply can’t find a park. And I don’t know about your experience today, but I certainly had a bit of car park rage trying to find a car park, so this will certainly be put to great use and I’m so glad to be part of a Federal Labor team who’s delivering for the people here in North Lakes and Mango Hill.

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Well thanks very much Corinne, and it is fantastic to be here at Mango Hill Station, a station that is of course a part of the new Redcliffe Rail Line. I came here as an Infrastructure Minister in government, partnering with the then Bligh Labor Government and Moreton Bay Regional Council to support the Redcliffe Rail Line – First promised in 1895, but delivered by the cooperation between Federal and State Labor Governments and the local Council. It was a part of our commitment to public transport, a commitment that saw us when we were last in office invest more in public transport projects than all previous governments combined since Federation. And of course here the Redcliffe Rail Line, further south, the other side of Brisbane, of course the Gold Coast Light Rail and here we want to partner with the Queensland Labor Government on the Cross River Rail project. That will of course increase the capacity of the rail network throughout South East Queensland. But of course we also have to consider the infrastructure around rail stations and Corinne and the State Members Chris and Stephen have campaigned very strongly to make sure that there is an increase in the commuter car parking here at Mango Hill Station.

We can see this morning that the car park here is already well over 100 per cent capacity and that’s why Federal Labor will contribute $4 million for the car park here at Mango Hill. We want to partner with state and local governments around the country to increase the number of Park and Ride facilities. We know that this has been identified by people in outer suburbs as being a real impediment to catching public transport and here this station is already over capacity. That’s why the $4 million commitment from Federal Labor will enable an increase in car parking here at the rail station to be brought forward in partnership with the Queensland Government.

It’s an important commitment. It’s a part of our $300 million national Park and Ride facility that was announced by Bill Shorten, the Labor leader, at the NSW ALP conference just a few weeks ago. We’ve identified, as we’ve gone around the country, this as one of the issues that people raise with Labor members and Labor candidates about what they want the Federal Government to be engaged with. It’s only Federal Labor that actually invests in public transport facilities.

Malcolm Turnbull quite likes taking selfies on trains and trams, he just won’t fund them. And he won’t fund the Cross River Rail project. He was happy to come to the Redcliffe rail station opening when it occurred, but he wasn’t happy to put in a single dollar to either that project or to the Cross River Rail project. That’s why it’s only Federal Labor that will deliver on public transport. We want people like Corinne to be elected, to be part of the Labor team, so we can continue to build on the legacy Labor has when it comes to public transport.

STEPHEN MILES: Well this is great news for Mango Hill locals. My family and I live not far from here and this is our train station. Fortunately we don’t need to drive; we can just walk down but as you can see many people do drive to here. Not just from throughout Mango Hill but also neighbouring North Lakes. The car park here is well over capacity and this investment if Labor is elected will allow us to increase the car parking here at Mango Hill.

It’s an excellent example of why our region needs a Labor Government, needs Corinne Mulholland to be our new representative. She will deliver for Mango Hill and for the electorate of Petrie where her opponent, Luke Howarth, has delivered nothing even though he is a member of the Government.

WHITING: Well we have a great lifestyle here in North Lakes and Mango Hill and with this $4 million investment in the car park, and Cross River Rail, this is going to be an even better place to live and once again, it’s only Labor that people can rely on here to deliver the infrastructure we need.

ALBANESE: Happy to take questions.

JOURNALIST: What are you actually going to do to improve the carpark? Increase the numbers, or simply seal it (inaudible)?

ALBANESE: We’ll work with the Queensland Government on the details of the proposal. Quite clearly there’s an unsealed area just to the right of us here today that could be used, but there’s a range of land around this station. It has been identified, when we’ve had discussions with Mark Bailey, the Minister in the Queensland Government, it’s been identified as the number one priority because it can be brought forward with this investment. So we’ll be working on that between now and the Federal Election. Corinne has campaigned very strongly for this and this is a great day for the people of Mango Hill and the people of North Lakes. It builds on our commitment.

JOURNALIST: I do have a question for the Health Minister which is separate to this, if you are happy to take questions. It’s just in relation to a PFAS story; what’s your reaction to the news that contamination could be more widespread than first originally reported?

MILES: Understandably there is a very high level of community concern about these pollutants. Queensland remains the only state that has banned their use. We have called upon the Commonwealth to ban their use federally. They continue to use them at sites that they regulate and that’s unfortunate. I’ve seen the reports today, I’ll seek advice from the Chief Health Officer to determine whether any further steps are needed from Queensland Health’s perspective.

JOURNALIST: Do you think there needs to be a national investigation given the potential risks?

MILES: Well I’ve said consistently, both during my time as Environment Minister and now as Health Minister that the Federal Government needs to do more to address these community concerns. They’ve failed frankly in managing the sites that they’re responsible for, defence sites and aviation sites primarily. They should do more, they should support Queensland’s ban, they should be more proactive in advising (inaudible).

[ENDS]

TUESDAY, 17 JULY 2018

Jul 17, 2018

Media Release – Labor to Support Commuter Parking for Mango Hill Station – Tuesday, 17 June, 2018

A Shorten Labor Government will invest $4 million towards the expansion of the Mango Hill Station parking facility, meaning locals will have access to more parking spaces years sooner than previously expected.

This critical local project is part of Labor’s $300 million National Park and Ride Fund for new or expanded car parks at public transport hubs, such as train stations.

Currently the Mango Hill Station parking facility is at 120% capacity, leaving commuters scouring local streets for a parking spot before they even make it on the train to work.

Labor’s National Park and Ride Fund builds on our support for public transport to deal with urban congestion in our cities.

That’s why we are backing the Cross River Rail project, which will significantly increase capacity on the South-East Queensland rail network.

Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development Anthony Albanese said the funding showed Labor’s genuine commitment to public transport that delivers for local communities.

“Labor knows that public transport isn’t just about the train line or bus route itself.  It’s also about the surrounding infrastructure that makes it work for local residents.  That is why we are committed to upgrading parking facilities here at Mango Hill Station and at transport hubs across the country,’’ Mr Albanese said.

“For public transport to really work we need to ensure locals can actually make it to the train. When commuters are consistently missing their train while they try and park, the system isn’t working properly.”

“Locals in Mango Hill, North Lakes and surrounds know that parking at Mango Hill Station is at breaking point.  The community needs more parking infrastructure and they need it now.”

Labor’s Candidate for Petrie Corinne Mulholland  said: “Locals have told me that the parking available at Mango Hill Station simply isn’t enough. Commuters are turning up and driving in circles around the station trying to find a parking spot. Labor is committed to fixing this ridiculous situation.”

“Corinne and dedicated State Member for Murrumba, Steven Miles, have been lobbying hard for this funding. Labor is listening to locals and will deliver the infrastructure commuters need”, said Mr Albanese.

Labor’s Park and Ride Fund delivers grant funding to local communities – via state and local governments – to construct new car parks and expanded existing facilities in high-growth areas with demonstrated commuter need. A Federal Labor Government will partner with local communities to fund the projects on a co-investment basis.

TUESDAY, 17 JULY, 2018

Jul 11, 2018

Media Release – Labor Will Deliver City Partnerships – Wednesday, 11 July 2018

A Federal Labor Government will overhaul and replace the Coalition’s City Deals with a City Partnerships program that will foster more genuine collaboration between the three levels of government.

This will transform the existing top-down system into one in which councils are seen not as casual stakeholders, but genuine partners in urban policy.

Cities around the nation face a number of complex challenges including urban sprawl, traffic congestion and a shift towards greater population density.

To overcome these challenges and ensure quality of life for all people, regardless of whether they live in inner cities, outer suburbs, growth corridors or regional cities, genuine collaboration between the three levels of government is required.

As it stands, the City Deals program does not achieve this.

More than 18 months after the first deal was signed in Townsville, it is clear City Deals have fallen well short of their stated objectives, which are intended to align federal, state and local governments with a shared vision for the future.

A key problem with Mr Turnbull’s City Deals is that there are no clear guidelines about how they work.

City Deals have either been in marginal electorates framed around single election commitments or are simply missing depth and detail.

This is the case for the Western Sydney City Deal, which excluded Blacktown Council for no good reason. And the Deal’s centrepiece – a north-south rail link through Western Sydney – is still unfunded.

The Coalition’s model also limits meaningful engagement with the private sector.

But most worryingly, there is no independent oversight of Mr Turnbull’s City Deals, which are subject entirely to political whim.

Labor will address this deficiency by re-establishing the Major Cities Unit within the independent Infrastructure Australia and requiring it to use transparent measures to both recommend and assess the progress of City Partnerships.

The Major Cities Unit will also refresh the National Urban Policy that Labor released when last in government to ensure City Partnerships align with its objectives, for example, in areas like sustainability and smart technology.

Labor will establish an expert panel to update strategic planning guidelines for cities as well as the development of guidelines for City Partnerships, in consultation with the Minister, which include benefits to the economy.

Labor accepts that City Partnerships must be tailored and flexible.

But we expect them to set out a strategic vision that aligns with the National Urban Policy and delivers on pre-determined performance indicators.

This announcement builds on Labor’s proud legacy of urban policy development.

Federal Labor has been involved in urban policy development since the 1970s. We seek to work with local communities, particularly through their local councils, to develop responses to the challenges of growth.

We understand that to ensure the ongoing productivity, sustainability and liveability of our cities, investing in people and their communities is critical.

Jul 6, 2018

Media Release – Jenny Macklin – Friday, 6 July 2018

Australia is a better and fairer nation due to the contribution of my friend Jenny Macklin to public life.

I have had the honour of working with Jenny since the day we were both elected to Parliament in 1996.

There is no doubt that Jenny Macklin has been the stand out contributor to policy development in the Australian Labor Party since that time.

The Apology, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Paid Parental Leave, and the Royal Commission into the Response of Institutions to Childhood Sexual Abuse are just some of Jenny’s legacies.

Jenny ensured the largest ever increase to the Aged Pension and Disability Support Pension, which was driven by her commitment to social justice and overcoming social disadvantage.

Jenny’s service as a Minister, Deputy Leader, Shadow Minister and member of key Committees – including Parliamentary Tactics and the Expenditure Review Committee, have been critical, over more than two decades.

Jenny leaves the Parliament with respect from all sides and is recognised as having more knowledge over income support and the attainment of social justice than anyone across the Parliament.

As someone who has had the pleasure of sitting next to Jenny on the front bench for a long time, I will miss her sense of humour and passionate advocacy.

I wish Jenny, Ross and all her family all the best for the future.

Jul 3, 2018

Media Release – Bruce Higway Extension Will Support Tourism – Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Labor’s $40 million commitment to extend the Bruce Highway from the intersection of Comport Street and Draper Street to Cairns Airport will ensure a better tourist experience for the almost three million people that visit Cairns every year.

The Bruce Highway is Queensland’s most important piece of road infrastructure and is central to the movement of people and freight up and down its coast.

These major upgrades will improve access to the Airport, which is particularly important given the growth in passenger numbers – in May this year Cairns Airport welcomed 390,000 passengers.

Locals will also benefit from the jobs that will be created as a result of this $40 million investment.

This project builds on the $5 million Labor has already announced for the Wangetti Tourist Trail in Cairns and our commitment to establish a $1 billion Northern Australia Tourism Infrastructure Fund.

It comes in addition to the investment Labor made when last in Government.

This included the almost $700 million we allocated to upgrading and widening key sections of the Bruce Highway through Cairns’ southern suburbs, as well as between Cairns and Gordonvale.

The simple fact is that quality infrastructure underpins a successful tourist experience.

Labor understands that many people in Cairns rely on tourism for their income, which is why we are committed to investing in infrastructure that will help support this important sector.

Jul 3, 2018

Media Release – Constance Should Grow Up and Put People First on Metro West Rail – Tuesday, 3 July 2018

NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance has embarrassed himself by rejecting Federal Labor’s commitment of $3 billion for the proposed Sydney Metro West rail project on partisan political grounds.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported today that last Thursday, Mr Constance said he needed Federal funding for the project, which will connect Parramatta with the Sydney CBD.

Mr Constance said: “Canberra need (sic) to seriously start to look at this project to make this work”.

But on Monday, after Opposition Leader Bill Shorten committed $3 billion to the project in his speech at the  NSW Labor Party conference, Mr Constance changed his tune. Standing next to Federal Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher, who has not offered a dollar for the project, Mr Constance rejected the need for Federal investment.

Mr Constance is more interested in politics than delivering Metro West.

He should dump the hypocrisy and grow up.

Improving public transport between Parramatta and the Sydney CBD must be a priority for both levels of government.

Australians want political representatives to focus on outcomes, not politics.

Metro West is a good project.

That’s why NSW Labor Leader Luke Foley, who understands the importance of infrastructure investment to tackling traffic congestion and boosting economic productivity, has promised a State Labor Government would fast-track construction.

It is also why Federal Labor has committed funding.

Instead of playing political games, Mr Constance should press the Turnbull Government to get behind this important project.

 

Jul 2, 2018

Media Release – Forget the Lycra: Labor will Deliver Stage II of the Mackay Ring Road – Monday, 2 July 2018

Dawson MP George Christensen’s failure to secure Budget funding for Stage II of the Mackay Ring Road highlights his growing irrelevance within the Federal Government.

In February Federal Labor committed $102 million for planning and construction of the Mackay Port Access Road, to be delivered in partnership with the Queensland Government.

Labor recognises the fundamental importance of this project to Mackay’s quality of life and ongoing economic development.

By contrast, Mr Christensen was unable to extract a dollar of funding from the Federal Coalition Government in May’s Federal Budget.

To his embarrassment, Mr Christensen recently made a bizarre video in which he ran around singing in a lycra leotard in an attempt to bring attention to the project.

The people of Dawson don’t need a clown in a leotard.

They need a Labor Government in Canberra with a Labor representative able to deliver the services and infrastructure their community needs and deserves.

It is becoming increasingly clear that Mr Christensen’s frequent media stunts and threats to cross the floor have eroded his credibility with his colleagues to such an extent that he is ineffective as an advocate for his community.

With Stage I of the Mackay Ring Road under construction, Labor is determined to ensure that we lock in Stage II to allow for a seamless continuation of the project.

The 8.2km Mackay Port Access Road will link the Bruce Highway North intersection to the Harbour Road intersection – connecting Mackay’s northern suburbs to the Paget Industrial Area and mining locations west of the city.

Jul 1, 2018

Media Release – Labor’s $6 Billion Plan for Sydney Rail – Sunday, 1 July 2018

A Shorten Labor Government will invest $6 billion to build the Sydney Metro West and Western Sydney Rail, bringing jobs, economic development and a better quality of life to people living in Western Sydney.

Western Sydney is already home to two million people – nearly 10per cent of Australia’s population – and is our third largest economy.

Labor wants to ensure Western Sydney has the jobs and infrastructure it needs to set it up for the future, which is why we’re getting behind this vital economic infrastructure.

Labor can afford to invest in public transport infrastructure and new jobs because unlike Turnbull and the out-of-touch Liberals, we aren’t giving a $17 billion tax handout to the big banks.

Western Sydney Rail

Labor will commit a total of $3 billion to Western Sydney Rail which will reduce congestion and the dependence on cars, and bring jobs closer to where people live – while connecting all of Sydney with the new Western Sydney Airport.

Labor has been committed to this project since before the last election, when we committed $400 million to get this project underway. Today’s announcement builds on that commitment because we understand just how vital it is for Western Sydney’s future.

Western Sydney’s population is expected to grow by an additional one million people in the next 20 years, and traffic congestion is expected to cost Sydney nearly $15 billion by 2031.

This project alone is expected to take 1,000 cars off the road every time a train leaves the station, and Deloitte estimates the project will add over $44 billion in benefits to the economy by 2040.

Sydney Metro West

Labor will commit $3 billion to Sydney Metro West, which will double the rail capacity between Parramatta and the CBD.

In the next 20 years the population of the corridor between Parramatta and the CBD is expected to grow by 420,000, and more than 300,000 new jobs in the same period. Sydney Metro West will be vital to securing economic development and quality of life.

The project will see construction of a 25km underground tunnel and up to 12 new underground stations. Not only will this enable greater movement of passengers, it will also free up existing heavy rail track for additional services between the CBD and Greater Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.

Labor’s hard budget choices means we afford to pay for our priorities: better public transport, more jobs, and reversing Turnbull’s cuts to schools and hospitals.

A Shorten Labor Government will deliver a fair go for Western Sydney.

SUNDAY, 1 JULY 2018

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Contact Anthony

(02) 9564 3588 Electorate Office

Email: [email protected]

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